Spring has sprung. Earth Day is just around the corner. There’s no better time to take a road trip and reconnect with Mother Nature. So it’s a good thing Northern New Mexico is abundant with wildflowers, majestic vistas, crystal clear lakes, and much more. You just need to know where to look.
Of course, you’ll also want to have a home away from home you can return to after a long day of exploring. No matter where you and your family establish base camp — at The Lodge, one of our fully-furnished private home or condominium vacation rentals, or our luxury RV Resort — the region’s many natural wonders are just a day trip away from Angel Fire Resort.
A Boast-Worthy Bridge
The neighboring town of Taos offers a diversity of worthwhile sights and sounds to take
in. One of the best vantage points for doing just that is the Rio Grande Gorge Bridge.
The fifth-highest bridge in the United States is suspended 650 feet over the Rio Grande. It consists of 1,300 feet of steel. Completed in 1965, the bridge and surrounding parking areas have since been extensively renovated.
When visiting, don’t restrict yourself to walking from one end of the gorge to the other. Take the nearby trail and get to know the unique ecosystem the river’s famous whitewater rapids have carved out of the ancient lava flows that form the Taos Plateau. Flora and fauna are ample, from juniper and piñon trees that are hundreds of years old to mountain bluebirds and bighorn sheep.
A quick 57-mile drive along US 64 will transport you from Angel Fire Resort to the gorge — with plenty to see along the way.
Some of the most diverse terrain in Northern New Mexico can be found in one place: Carson National Forest. This 1.5 million-acre camper’s paradise offers unforgettable views of towering mesas, wooded respites, flowery meadows, and New Mexico’s highest elevation: Wheeler Peak.
You can ascend this 13,161-foot peak with a hearty hike along the Williams Lake Trail to the Wheeler Peak Summit Trail #67. See Williams Lake, the remains of an ancient glacier, and sweeping views of the forest once you reach the top. (Be forewarned: the trail’s homestretch gets pretty vertical!)
Reach the Williams Lake Trail Head by taking US 64 west until you pick up NM 150.
If you’re not much of a mountain-climber, there’s still plenty of outdoor fun to be had in Carson National Forest. Trout fishing and big game hunting are permitted in certain areas, and the sheer number of trails open for horse riding is pretty staggering.
Escape to Eagle Nest
This elevated retreat sits on the north shore of glimmering Eagle Nest Lake, where you can drop your line for a chance to catch trout or salmon. Or follow the winding Cimarron River as it makes its way through a forested canyon. Both areas offer camping and hiking trails. Arrive early or near sundown for the best chance to see the native wildlife: roadrunners, grouse, elk, beavers, and more.
Eagle Nest is only a short jaunt from Angel Fire Resort — a 20-minute drive on the Enchanted Scenic Byway — making it the perfect day trip destination.
Frolic in the Flowers
There are many places to see the wildflowers bloom in Northern New Mexico (including our mountain), but Coyote Creek State Park is among the most memorable. The park is nestled in a valley of the Sangre de Cristo Mountains. Heavily treed with spruce and pine, it also occupies what’s known as a riparian zone, an area where land meets moving fresh water — in this case, a tributary of the Mora River.
So no wonder the park pops this time of year with the colors of irises, primroses, geraniums, sunflowers, aromatic wild mint, and more. The park’s stream is great for fly fishing, and its quiet meadows are perfect for camping and birding.
Head south on NM 434 from Angel Fire Resort, and you should reach the State Park in about half an hour.
Splash into the Swimming Hole
You’ll feel like you took a journey back in time as you enter the charming town of Santa Rosa. Classic cars, buzzing neon signs, and historic stone buildings pave the main road.
But the quaint town isn’t the only attraction in the area. Whether you like to swim, dive, cliff jump, or snorkel, you can refresh yourself at one of the nation’s best swimming holes: Blue Hole. Although this 80-foot-deep, aquifer-fed pool is open year-round — and sports a constant temperature of 62 degrees — it’s best enjoyed during the warm spring and summer months.
Santa Rosa and Blue Hole are located about two hours from Angel Fire Resort by way of NM 434 and US 84, but it’s well worth the trek.
Check out Chama
The village of Chama is as welcoming as it is hidden. Huddled high in the Southern Rockies, Chama is a destination of its own, but a ride on the Cumbres & Toltec Scenic Railroad will take your trip to the next level. Revel in views of the rugged
Brazos Cliffs, one of the oldest geological formations in the area. And we do mean old — these gigantic granite slabs are 1.8 billion years old!
Hop on US 64 for a scenic and surprising two- and half-hour journey to captivating Chama.
So what are you waiting for? April is the perfect month to discover all the natural enchantment Northern New Mexico has to offer while enjoying the comforts and convenience of the American Southwest’s favorite four-season family resort!